From wooden to wondrous: The technology of wheelchairs

As medical science improves so many facets of our lives, the humble but vital wheelchair also advances.

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Confucius in wheelchair Confucius in wheelchair (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

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Chinese origins

Archaeological records show that people have used wheeled furniture for thousands of years – since the 6th century B.C. In ancient China, wheelbarrows were used to carry people until wheeled chairs were developed in the 6th century A.D. Most of these chairs were rigid and required someone to push from behind, like in this 17th century depiction of Confucius.

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